Consider this – there’s a boat in your front yard (that shouldn’t be there), your windows are blown in and your family room looks like a messy patch of garden, your car engine is flooded, your clothes are damp and cold, and your power is still out, the wind won’t stop blowing, the rain won’t stop falling and the temperature continues to drop. This is New York and New Jersey. Remember the ‘hoorays’ we all let out after the lights turned back on after only 4 hours without power? Consider still not having power, no hot showers, no cooking ability, no refrigerated food, and no lights.
Islanders Ryan Murtha and Steve Emery were at a job on Friday, like any other Friday, talking here and there about the events of the week and it occurred to them, We’ve all gone on with our daily routines, taking for granted all those things that some of the most densely populated areas are still going without.
The second thought that came, We all know someone in New York or New Jersey. “It was that moment when you look at yourself and your friends and realize that there is a real need in your own backyard and that we have the willingness, ability, and community to make a difference. That’s when we started planning – and the community of Martha’s Vineyard, continues to amaze us.” Murtha said, while juggling phone calls, logistics, and plans.
Island Food Products generously donated a 34 foot truck which housed all physical donations and the pockets of Murtha and Emery transported all cash donations to the affected areas. The Hebrew Center of Martha’s Vineyard offered up a significant donation of warm clothing for adults and children, Contemporary Landscapes gave a generous cash donation and the Wallace Brothers of Oak Bluffs supplied all the gas for the trip to NY/NJ and back.
Delivery of donations and needed supplies was coordinated through FEMA groups located in those areas. Partnering with Duke’s County and coordinating efforts through the invaluable network of the Emergency Management Center of Martha’s Vineyard, all donations were efficiently directed to the specific areas in dire need.
A testament of the strength of the human spirit and the collective whole, what was an afterthought of two guys became an island-wide effort involving a number of business owners, families, and individuals who felt a great call to action. The Steamship Authority kindly waived the reservation fee for the IFP transport truck, allowing for a larger quantity of funds to go directly to those in the effected areas. JB of Sharky’s and MV Chowder Company helped raise cash donations through Facebook – for every ‘share’ he received on the ‘Sandy Relief’ post he donated $1 and for every ‘like’ he donated 25¢.
And the list of contributors goes on.
The hand that New Yorkers and New Jersey-ites were dealt was far from fair and highly unfortunate with the holiday season right around the corner. It’s hard not to feel a great sadness for the play by play in the area. “I have a son and a house and a life here on Martha’s Vineyard and if I were in a similar situation, I would feel so grateful for help from friends, acquaintances, and strangers – anything to lighten the load. Our goal was to lessen the burden and offer a moment of relief,” said Emery.